Characters Appearing: Blonde Phantom, Critic, Phantom Blonde, Puppet Master, She-Hulk
Issue(s): She-Hulk #47
She-Hulk has taken a case where a guy is accused of burning down a house, although he blames it on puppets.
She-Hulk gets help from Weezie and her daughter, the Phantom Blonde, who mostly provides cheesecake opportunities.
The story quickly gets bigger than just a guy accused of burning down a house, and the police release him when that becomes the case. An entire town is overrun with mayhem and weirdness.
The joke of the issue seems to be that the puppets are based on the ones from the 1960s Thunderbirds television show, which i am only barely aware of, so a lot of this is probably lost on me (and, i'd wager, a good percentage of the audience).
Also in this issue is the guy that ought to be my favorite character, the Critic.
Apparently one of the compressed alternate dimensions from the story he appeared in was left behind, and that's what all the fuss is about.
There's a lot of talk of a Master Puppet who is controlling all of the puppets from this dimension that is now overlapping with our world. And there really is a Master Puppet.
But he of course turns out to be controlled by the Puppet Master.
Wait, the Puppet Master was in prison?
I like that Furman is using elements from Steve Gerber's She-Hulk stories: the Critic and the Blonde Phantom. Not that Gerber's stories were very good, but i'd rather the re-use of existing bad stuff than making up new bad stuff. And i actually love the idea of the Critic and wouldn't mind if he had been used more (this is his final appearance). Unfortunately this story isn't very funny.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This is a fill-in that was published in the middle of John Byrne's space/body-swap story that ran from issue #40-49. The MCP push this back in publication time, between issues #35-36. The real question is when the Puppet Master is supposed to have been in jail. But since the answer to that question seems to be "never" (at least in recent history), i guess it doesn't matter. I guess after he learned that his step-daughter had been replaced by a Skrull for seven years, he went on a little bender and got put in the slammer.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Wait, you barely know Thunderbirds? Wasn't it endlessly repeated over in the states?
Posted by: Berend | March 2, 2016 4:10 PM
I barely know of it as well. I think Cartoon Network ran it for a minute in the 00s. I saw some of it after Team America came out and there were a lot of mentions of it in the press for that film. But no, to my knowledge it is not something that has been "endlessly repeated" here like, say, Dr. Who or The Avengers.
Posted by: Robert | March 2, 2016 4:23 PM
The whole "was Puppet Master in prison or not" question is interesting. How do you prove he committed crimes when all he ever does is stuff with puppets? Like, how would you show that in court? Prove the puppets control people, I mean, especially if he's the only one that can do it? Just an academic question.
Posted by: mikrolik | March 2, 2016 5:15 PM
I have to say, finding out that Americans never had Thunderbirds makes me feel very sorry for you all. Take the time to check it out, because it's really good.
Posted by: Stevie G | March 2, 2016 5:51 PM
@ mlkrollk - Without giving anything away for those who haven't watched yet, that's the same kind of thing that makes the Jessica Jones show so good - the need to actually have evidence of what Kilgrave does that will stand up in court and exonerate someone who acted under his control.
@ Berend - I agree with Robert. Thunderbirds might have played a lot here when it was first on in the UK, back in the 60's, but it hasn't really had the constant exposure in the States that shows like Dr Who, Black Adder or Monty Python have in the years since.
Posted by: Erik Beck | March 2, 2016 5:53 PM
I think the Thunderbirds was shown on UHF in the states in the late sixties, too early for me to have caught it. I watched the conceptual sequel, Captain Scarlet, religiously in the early seventies. I thought it was the greatest thing ever. But, of course, I was ten.
Posted by: Andrew | March 2, 2016 9:04 PM
Just for completeness's sake, Puppet Master WAS shown to be in jail in Marvel Two-In-One 60. So they did manage to get evidence on him, somehow?
Posted by: Michael | March 2, 2016 9:56 PM
"I don't know if this was leftover from when Simon Furman was briefly the regular writer, or if he wrote it as a quick fill-in"- the Marvel Appendix (under the Master Puppet) claims that it was supposed to run in issue 27, since issue 26 promised a story on puppets.
Posted by: Michael | March 2, 2016 11:16 PM
Gerry Anderson's live-action shows like UFO and Space:1999 got repeated a lot in the USA; his puppet shows tended to show up on UHF stations or the Sci-Fi Channel. I'm guessing they came off as a bit creepy to American viewers(except maybe the first one, Supercar, which did get some sort of push in the USA in the early 1960s).
Posted by: Mark Drummond | March 3, 2016 10:54 AM
Michael: Yep. Looks like PM was in the big house during FF 168-170 as well.
Erik Beck: Oh yeah, I have seen Jessica Jones on Netflix. Maybe that's why I thought of the question.
Posted by: mikrolik | March 3, 2016 11:20 AM
Only an American, unfamiliar with the 'Thunderbirds' series, could mess up the live-action movie as much as they did.
Posted by: Oliver_C | March 3, 2016 11:26 AM
This story does actually raise a very valid point: In a world like the Marvel universe where incredibly bizarre events take place on a daily basis, the legal system really would have to take the time to seriously investigate apparently ridiculous claims by defendants such as "I didn't commit that murder; it was a clone / alien / other-dimensional duplicate / ghost / robot / time traveler from the future / mutant telepath / shape-shifter / evil clown."
Hell, even if a defendant *was* actually guilty and was just lying his rear end off, there are enough legitimate cases of those sorts of things occurring in the Marvel universe that quite a few lawyers could probably create enough reasonable doubt during the trial to get a hung jury, if not an outright acquittal.
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 3, 2016 1:12 PM
The Master Puppet is a version of Howdy Doody.
Posted by: Luke Blanchard | December 27, 2017 2:51 PM
Kust Busiek explored that in Astro City, with a story about a lawyer getting a genuinely guilty client off by playing on the jury's uncertainty in a world where evil clones and mind-control exist.
Posted by: The Small Lebowski | December 27, 2017 5:54 PM
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